DVD EXTRA: FEB 20, 2003
More movies out this week on DVD: Shannon J. Harvey flicks through the latest releases on DVD and VHS; About A Boy, Bully, Blow Dry, Lord of the Flies, Black and White. (For fuller reviews of selected leading titles, please see our DVD menu.)
VHS and DVD rental, February 14, Shock
Larry Clark shocked us in 1995 with his controversial indie flick Kids, and he's up to much the same in Bully, a voyeuristic look at the sadistic world of drop-out kids, this time in Florida. Drop-out surfer Marty (Brad Renfro) is long time best friends with rich-kid bully Bobby (Nick Stahl). Marty has become accustomed to Bobby's abusive, domineering behaviour. But when Marty gets a girlfriend (Rachel Miner) who makes him see the light, she and her friends decide to stop Bobby once, and hire a hitman to kill him. Filled with sex, drugs, violence and dire consequences, this is one teenage film that's not for kids. Larry Clark is almost more of a bully with his leering camera-work than Bobby is with his fists. Shockingly based on a true story.
BLOW DRY (M)
VHS and DVD rental, February 19, Roadshow
The small English town of Keighley is sent into a spin when it wins the right to host the National British Hairdressing Championships. Former champ Phil (Alan Rickman) couldn't care less - he's still reeling after his wife (Natasha Richardson) ran off with his hair model (Rachel Griffiths). Phil's son Brian (Josh Hartnett) wants to enter, and has found the perfect model (Rachael Leigh-Cook). As the high-strung contestants stream into town, relationships get frayed, teased, tasseled, and trimmed as the competition gets the scissors out - on each other. It's a lot of hot air, really, doing for hairdressing what Best In Show did for dog shows. A top cast, however, makes it a cut above.
ABOUT A BOY (M)
VHS and DVD retail, February 19, Universal
Faithfully adapted by Nick Hornby from his own best-seller, this feel-good flick might have you forgiving Hugh Grant for all his indiscretions. He will win you over as hip 38 year-old Londoner Will, even though he's a yuppie slacker living in his own “island paradise'” (ie: cool apartment) thanks to royalties from his father's one-hit wonder of a song. A shallow, ambitionless sexual predator, Will tires of the dating circuit and joins a single-parent help group because desperate mums are easy targets. When one mum's son, 12 year-old oddball Marcus (Nicholas Hoult), latches onto Will as a kind of father figure, the two form an unlikely friendship that forces both to grow up. A winning, Bridget Jones for guys style comedy-drama with great performances from Grant, Hoult (those eyebrows!) and Toni Collette as the boy's suicidal hippie mum. The DVD package features behind the scenes, director's commentary and deleted scenes.
BLACK AND WHITE (M)
VHS and DVD rental, 19th February. New Vision
A provocative Australian courtroom drama, Black And White is based on the true story of Max Stuart, a Aboriginal man sentenced to death for the rape and murder of a nine year-old white girl in the remote South Australian town of Ceduna in 1959. Robert Carlyle (in an uncharacteristically sombre role) and Kerry Fox play the lawyers assigned to defend him, putting everything on the line for justice in the racist town, where the cops are all too willing to hang an innocent black man. Getting in on the act is a young Rupert Murdoch (Ben Mendelsohn), then publisher of the Adelaide News, who has his own vested interests in the case. Class, race, and corruption are on trial in this gripping, unhurried drama that goes all the way to the English High Court, where truth and justice is far from black and white.
LORD OF THE FLIES : 40th Anniversary Edition (PG)
DVD retail, February 19, Universal
Forget Survivor Thailand, Africa, or Australia - William Golding's chilling tale of prep-school boys marooned on a desert island is the real thing. Filmed in 1963 by Peter Brook, this faithful black-and-white adaptation is a stunning investigation of the inherent evil in the human mind, whatever innocence may cloak it. Watch how quickly order becomes chaos as elected leader Ralph (James Aubrey) loses control of the group when Jack (Tom Chaplin) forms his own tribe of boys who want to do as they please. And how the boys almost de-evolve, reverting to their primal natures as they hunt and gather and protect their territory. The two tribes go to war with devastating consequences, proving that man is not as far from the beasts as he may like to think. Hey, if only Survivor was more like this, reality TV might be worth watching...
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Bully - Buy it
About a Boy - Buy it
Black and White
Lord of the Flies - Buy it